Linda and I just returned from holiday in Alaska. (Disappointingly, Lois returned early) We had been away from home a scant two weeks. There was dust on the furniture, a few random insect carcasses, dirty clothes, an abundance of weeds in the garden and flower beds and a layer of pollen on the outdoor furniture. It all translates into work!
I prefer the word ‘holiday’ to ‘vacation’. Holiday had its roots in Holy days, vacation merely the act of putting things in neutral, to vacate the mind and body. One evokes refreshment with purpose, the other merely suspension of the usual. But before your rebuttal, I agree there is place for both.
Yesterday was one for exhausting work, weeding, trimming, mowing and blowing the yard. We had/have a plethora of wild strawberry vines, dandelion, clover, crabgrass, and goose grass. My hands and thighs today particularly attest to the work it took yesterday to again get the upper hand, though it is short lived.
We, humans made in the image of God, are commissioned with a limited dominion over the things of this world.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
But we made it harder on ourselves by trying to usurp more authority than we were granted. So God gave us weeds, I think in part, that we may know again our place.
cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground,
Yeah, my tomatoes need attention, hopefully today.
So while I was weeding it got me to thinking, the physical is given us as an example for spiritual realities. If my gardens can become so unkempt in just two weeks, how much more my spiritual life. Do I prioritize time with God, seek his presence, commune with Him in prayer and solitude, feed on His word?
I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
These disciplines are spiritual weed killers, but it takes time and diligence. They uproot the undesirable (see Galatians 5:19-21, Proverbs 12:24,27) replacing them with the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-25). And His wisdom yields a great harvest.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
God wants us to share in His goodness even now while we walk this earth. It will be incomplete and it will have pitfalls but the more we seek Him the fewer the weeds in our daily lives.
It takes work, and that’s OK!
1. The second law of thermodynamics ‘entropy (that is randomness or energy unavailable for useful work) increases over time’ is another way of realizing the need to work at having available energy (think of it like charging a car battery). Time with God does that for our spiritual energy, it recharges.
2. I have found the book ‘Celebration of Discipline’ by Richard Foster a valuable supplement to prayer and time in the word.
Mendenhall glacier Alaska
But let’s not think we can outperform God,
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they (we) are without excuse.